Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Image of gay men holding their newborn son used by opponents of same sex surrogacy

THIS image of two gay Canadian men holding their newborn son just seconds after he was born went viral in 2014.

The special moment shared between BJ Barone and Frank Nelson, both from Toronto, was captured by photographer Lindsay Foster and beamed around the world as a show of support for LGBT parents.

But now the image is being used by opponents of same sex surrogacy without the photographer’s permission.

Last month, right wing Irish independent candidate Mary Fitzgibbon shared the image on her Facebook page with the hashtag #no2surrogacy.

Now an Italian political party called Brothers of Italy, or Fratelli d’Italia, has used the image in a campaign poster against same sex parents.

The image sits alongside a slogan which roughly translates to: “He’ll never have the right to be called mum. Children have the right to be defended.”

Italy is currently embroiled in a bitter debate about LGBT rights. This week the Italian Senate voted to allow legal recognition for civil unions but would not authorise gay marriage.

“My work is being misrepresented for something I don’t believe in,” photographer Lindsay Foster wrote on her Facebook page, confirming she did not provide permission for her image to be used in this way.

Mr Barone told CBC News he and his partner never expected any publicity from what was supposed to be a private photo.

He took to Twitter this week to fight Ms Fitzgibbon’s anti-surrogacy campaign “with kindness”.

“We asked everyone to tweet her with hashtag #WeAreFamily with the photos,” he said, and the politician soon received a deluge of tweets,” he said.

“She made her Twitter account private after that. We were interviewed in an Irish newspaper, and I said thank you to this woman because she’s giving us an opportunity to teach our son that there is intolerance, and that you can do something about it.”

Mr Baron said the photo was captured in the heat of the moment, just after a surrogate gave birth to their son Milo.

“Milo was seconds out of the womb, umbilical chord still attached. The midwife yelled, ‘Take your shirts off!’ We whipped our shirts off, and the baby was given to us. The umbilical chord was still attached,” he said.

“It’s so so crazy. Words can’t describe the amount of love you have for someone, for the baby, for the partner.”

Mr Barone’s partner Frank Nelson says he remembers experiencing “pure joy” when his son was born.

“I think it has been a gift to everyone who sees that photo and knows that it does not matter if it’s a man or a woman or gay couple, anyone would feel utter joy in that moment,” he said.



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